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Author Topic: Twenty Alternatives to Punishment  (Read 23006 times)
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« on: March 16, 2010, 01:16:07 AM »

Twenty Alternatives to Punishment

by Aletha Solter, Ph.D.
    

1. LOOK FOR UNDERLYING NEEDS.
    Example: Give your child something to play with while waiting in line.

2. GIVE INFORMATION AND REASONS.
    Example: If your child colors on the wall, explain why we color on paper only.

3. LOOK FOR UNDERLYING FEELINGS.
    Acknowledge, accept & listen to feelings. Example: If your child hits his baby sister, encourage him to express his anger and jealousy in harmless ways. He may need to cry or rage.

4. CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT.
    This is sometimes easier than trying to change the child. Example: If your child repeatedly takes things out of the kitchen cupboards, put a childproof lock on them.

5. FIND ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATIVES.
    Redirect your child's behavior. Example: If you do not want your child to build a fort in the dining room, don't just say no. Tell her where she can build one.

6. DEMONSTRATE HOW YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO BEHAVE.
    Example: If your child pulls a cat's tail, show her how to pet a cat. Do not rely on words alone.

7. GIVE CHOICES RATHER THAN COMMANDS.
    Decision-making empowers children; commands invite a power struggle. Example: "Would you like to brush your teeth before or after putting your pajamas on?"

8. MAKE SMALL CONCESSIONS.
    Example: "I'll let you skip brushing your teeth tonight because you are so tired."

9. PROVIDE FOR A PERIOD OF PREPARATION.
    Example: If you are counting on company for dinner, tell your child how you expect him to behave. Be specific. Role-playing can help prepare children for potentially difficult situations.

10. LET NATURAL CONSEQUENCES OCCUR (when appropriate).
    Don't rescue too much. Example: A child who does not hang up her bathing suit and towel may find them still wet the next day. (But don't create artificial consequences.)

11. COMMUNICATE YOUR OWN FEELINGS.
    Let children know how their behavior affects you. Example: "I get so tired of cleaning up crumbs in the living room."

12. USE ACTIONS WHEN NECESSARY.
    Example: If your child insists on running across streets on your walks together, hold his hand tightly (while explaining the dangers).

13. HOLD YOUR CHILD.
    Children who are acting aggressively or obnoxiously can benefit from holding, in a loving and supportive way, that allows them to channel their pent-up feelings into healing tears.

14. REMOVE YOUR CHILD FROM THE SITUATION AND STAY WITH HER.
    Use the time for listening, sharing feelings, holding, and conflict-resolution.

15. DO IT TOGETHER, BE PLAYFUL.
    Many conflict situations can be turned into games. Examples: "Let's pretend we're the seven dwarfs while we clean up," "Let's take turns brushing each other's teeth."

16. DEFUSE THE SITUATION WITH LAUGHTER.
    Example: If your child is mad at you, invite him to express his anger in a playful pillow fight with you. Play your part by surrendering dramatically. Laughter helps resolve anger and feelings of powerlessness.

17. MAKE A DEAL, NEGOTIATE.
    Example: If you're ready to leave the playground and your child is having fun, reach an agreement on the number of times she may go down the slide before leaving.

18. DO MUTUAL CONFLICT-RESOLUTION.
    Discuss ongoing conflicts with your children, state your own needs, and ask for their help in finding solutions. Determine rules together. Hold family meetings.

19. REVISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
    Young children have intense feelings and needs and are naturally loud, curious, messy, willful, impatient, demanding, creative, forgetful, fearful, self-centered, and full of energy. Try to accept them as they are.

20. TAKE A PARENTAL TIME-OUT.
    Leave the room and do whatever is needed to regain your sense of composure and good judgment. Examples: call a friend, cry, meditate, or take a shower.



taken from www.awareparenting.com
Got loads of good advice there.....

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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 01:51:34 AM »

Thank you for the great info. I m going to print it out and stick it on a wall smile

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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 04:08:34 AM »

Good stuff! Thanks for sharing. smile

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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 06:08:03 AM »

The biggest alternative I find to punishment is distraction and redirection.

If a child is doing something I would like him not to do, it is the easiest to let that behaviour become unremarked, unacknowledged, unreacted, and simply sink into the unfathomable depths of things done that didn't have any 'markers' to repeat.

For example, I find it easier in the long run to distract a child from throwing a glass bowl and give him something else fun to do. I will never say "No, don't throw that!" I will go "Oh, what a nice bowl. You like it, huh? Kind of heavy for throwing. I like this for throwing - have you tried it?" and hand him a rubber ball (for example). That way, the glass bowl doesn't become something forbidden to be revisited when no one is paying attention.

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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2010, 02:07:31 PM »

Gee thanks think I can try some of the alternatives with my kid ....

The effective alternative in my kids case is distraction & redirection ....

Most of the times it works ... But as the day goes by I am finding it a bit difficult to handle her ...

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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2010, 02:18:50 PM »

Nice alternatives.  But have to remember them when the time comes.

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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 02:50:26 PM »

Hi vidyut,
Thanks for the info about distraction and redirection and never saying "No".
I have heard that early conceptions of good and bad and approval vs disapproval will have lasting impacts.
It is quite important the parent apply these concepts when speaking to babies.

I remember that I was very much brought up under the 'sweets are bad' absolute. It may seem like a small thing but when you're that age it can be a major betrayal.

I love to discuss more about it. thanks again for bring it up!

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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 03:19:10 PM »

MySunshine,

My pleasure. These subjects are close to my heart too.

I find many people speak about the effect on the child's psyche. Hearing too many 'no's tends to make a child disinclined to attempt things not known as yes (no one likes to be corrected - not even kids) if 'obedient' or rather, submissive, or get into more damage and possibly danger with assertive kids. It is observably true, but what I find most immediately useful is that my life gets easier - immediately. I don't have to say 'no' and then stay on guard. I can simply give 'em something better, and most of the time, that does the trick. Even if it doesn't, at least the attempts don't go covert and more difficult to spot.

Many times, I don't even bother to redirect. If a child wants to find out what spilling a drink is like, where's the harm? Let him do it and find out and most of the time that is it. I mop up, and that is it for me. If he wants to do it all the time (unlikely if there was no melodrama around it), its quite simple to demonstrate that water spills in a similar manner and leave him free to experiment as much as he wants.

Often, we want children to be so neat and tidy, that we give them so many 'no's, that it can get a little insane. Things like 'don't wipe your hands on your clothes' - how critical are they? Really, how clean are those clothes going to remain without wiping, and if they wipe, or not, the washing machine is really not going to discriminate. But we will value an object - clothes - more than our child's convenience.

Sometimes, parents will actually bring attention to what must not be done, like when I visited a friend with my 6mo son. She has a 2yo. He was happily doing his thing and couldn't care less about either me or N, when she showed him, "Look, baby! Isn't he sweet, so soft. See how he waves his hands? He wants to make friends with you. Watch him from here. Don't hurt him. No sweetie, don't touch him." Guess what a child harmlessly occupied with his train now had an ambition to do? This led to a virtual flood of nos all of which only convinced him that there must be something about touching this child, or why would everyone be so worked up? Really, how does he understand a soft baby without touching - even if he had zero curiosity (unlikely)? Is it such a life saving skill for a 2 year old to comprehend babies just because they exist? The rest of the visit was a nightmare of bodyguard services for N.

If he were my son, I wouldn't even point out that anyone at all had come home, unless the guest wanted to meet him. Even if there were introductions, they would be, "I'd like you to meet Vidyut, my friend, and her son, Nisarga." Done. Quick and painless.

Vidyut

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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 05:14:36 PM »

I really liked the alternatives.  These r few things that most of us know but when it comes to practically doing we sometimes fail to do them.
  I try to be patient with my son most of the time but when it comes to hitting & pushing , nothing seems to work. I must have tried to explain him a hundred times in different manners but he is the same..
  finally I take the last alternative ' TAKE A PARENTAL TIME-OUT ' smile
 

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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2010, 05:59:37 PM »

I am going to print this out and remind myself. I grow up in a " no" family. So naturally, sometimes I tend to overprotect my son and impose to many no. I like all these alternatives and this forum. Thanks for sharing.

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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 10:22:07 PM »

Hi Vidyut,
     Being a first time mom, I read a lot of good stuff that make sense to me about how to raise my kid but since I m not an experiened mom, I sometimes second doubt myself, espeically when you have a grandpa constantly giving you pressure about childrens "table manner" telling you that "you cant let them win" and grandma constantly chasing your kid around to wipe him down. I often put my 2 cents in but other times I let it slide.
I see that you have a 6 months old baby, just wondering if that is your only child? Do you encounter the same problems? how do you deal with it and do you manange to stay strong, put your 2 cents everytime?

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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2010, 01:33:58 AM »

Thanks for posting this, great advice and great timing.  My daughter has begun to cry when I take something away from her.  I use to destract her but now she remembers even after 2-3mins. the object that she wants.   Next time...I will definately try these alternatives and say no less!   My biggest objection is that I never want to give her something because she cried.  If she doesn't get distracted and continues to cry then I let her cry it out, if it exceeds then I hug her. 

But I love saying no...makes me feel like a mommy!   heck...for many yrs...I heard my mom say it....its nice to be on the other side....LOL         but I can definately understand the other perspective of how it makes the kid feel.  And no..I don't say no for everything.  I let her explore..trash the room, stay in the refrigerator, stay in the closet :P      

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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2010, 02:01:48 AM »

This is a wonderful discussion, thank you.

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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2010, 04:09:55 AM »

Hi Vidyut,
     Being a first time mom, I read a lot of good stuff that make sense to me about how to raise my kid but since I m not an experiened mom, I sometimes second doubt myself, espeically when you have a grandpa constantly giving you pressure about childrens "table manner" telling you that "you cant let them win" and grandma constantly chasing your kid around to wipe him down. I often put my 2 cents in but other times I let it slide.
I see that you have a 6 months old baby, just wondering if that is your only child? Do you encounter the same problems? how do you deal with it and do you manange to stay strong, put your 2 cents everytime?

Hi,

N is my only child. However, I have considerable experience with kids. professionally, as well as in the family.

The thing is, I don't put in my 2 cents. I take charge of bringing up my son. THEY can offer their 2 or 20 or 200 cents and I will consider them carefully and accept or reject. For right or wrong, he is my son and the sooner everyone accepts this, the sooner we can get over the conflicting opinions and interference and decisions about the baby by the whole village except the mother.

My MIL was from the 'disciplining' school of thought. I began with making remarks about the gracelessness of people who hit kids while pregnant. Made her aware of my opinions by sharing my feelings about 'others' doing such things. When N was born, she once hit him in the name of really forceful patting when he wouldn't stop crying. I took him back immediately and told her to not hit him - at all, ever. I saw her doing it again, did the same. This time, she told me that 'it doesn't harm them'. I had a choice. I could listen and let her decide to bring my child up in a way I thought was harmful, or I could address it.

I addressed it. I shared all I knew about parenting in a peaceful and respectful way. Shared how I had no intentions of 'training' N. Made it clear that she could join a rewarding, joyous parenting process or she could stop hitting grudgingly, but I would not allow N to be hit, no matter what. No holds barred. Over the last few months, she really 'gets it' AND enjoys it, because I took the effort to explain and have dialogues around entire books worth of the philosophy, invited her perspectives, valued them, etc. I often discover new insights from her experience. She will uphold some 'rules' we(not just I anymore) have even if I am not there. We all follow these rules at home, though I'm the so called decision maker. For example:

  • No hitting, scolding, correcting. If all you have in your heart is an issue with what is happening, don't bother. We'll stop you in any case.
  • Offer, don't force.
  • Don't let the baby be unhappy.
  • Be attentive at all times. If you can't, develop your capacity. Being a parent is not something you can stop doing because you "can't" or get tired, or whatever. Be attentive, affectionate, positive. Non negotiable.

N is a cheerful baby. No crying, smiles, laughs and talks at the slightest encouragement and often without. He is becoming a little mischief. Very affectionate. Last time he cried was about a month ago. As in cried even after being picked up, or for more than a minute or so. He doesn't cry unless he is ill, since he gets attention by calling out 'eeeeh' 'aaaye' etc. It is a feeling of great joy to live with such a child, know that we are an important part of his being so comfortable and happy.

We don't hesitate to make sure that visitors will respect the child. Mostly, this is not a problem. When we act with respect, visitors automatically treat N with respect.

The key thing is to have a vision for your child and then stand planted in the ground to make sure you make his world like that. Share this vision with others in the child's world, enlist their support, or at the very least, prevent interference.

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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2010, 05:05:02 AM »

Vidyut, thanks for sharing that. And I just went and looked at your site at your son's 6 month photos... what a happy little cutie! smile

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